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City opens arms to freezing homeless

[ 2009-11-18 16:31]     字号 [] [] []  
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More than 60 homeless wanderers in Guangzhou received their Christmas gifts a little early.

Rescue personnel from the bureau of civil affairs gave them quilts, blankets, coats and clothing to protect them from the cold.

"More items will be distributed to the homeless as the temperature continues to drop in the coming days," said an unnamed official from the Guangzhou city bureau of civil affairs yesterday.

"But I hope more homeless persons head to the city's shelters that have enough quilts, blankets, electric warmers and other facilities," said the official, who refused to be named.

The city's civil affairs department began to distribute quilts and clothing items to the city's homeless on Monday after two homeless people were found dead from freezing in the winter cold last week.

The temperature dropped to 7 C in Guangzhou yesterday, the lowest in November in three decades, according to a local meteorological station.

Affected by the cold front from the north, the temperature will drop even lower in the city today. The temperature has dropped to under 0 C in the northern part of the province.

Starting Saturday, more than 1,300 cold shelters in Guangzhou will be available to local senior residents and the homeless. Most of the city's cold shelters have only been able to attract a small number of homeless people in the previous days.

"Many homeless people refused to board the van (to take them to cold shelters) despite great efforts to persuade them," said a rescue worker who took the van to help distribute quilts and food to the wanderers in the city's Yuexiu and Tianhe districts yesterday.

"I think most of them worried they would be sent back to their hometowns after they seek help in the city's shelters," the rescue personnel said.

A street person who only gave his family name Wang said he knew little about the city's cold shelters.

"I prefer living under the viaducts and underground tunnels rather than a cold shelter as I can live leisurely and carefree," Wang said.

Wang is in his 50s and has been begging in Guangzhou for a number of years.

Many local residents have urged government departments to take concrete and effective measures to help the homeless in the cold winter days.

"In addition to distributing quilts and food for free, the government should consider not sending the homeless back to their home towns if they seek help from the city's cold shelters," said Zhang Qiongshan, of Guangzhou, to China Daily yesterday.

(英语点津 Julie编辑)

City opens arms to freezing homeless

About the broadcaster:

City opens arms to freezing homeless

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.